In the headline matchup from the first day of the LIV Golf Team Championship, Cameron Smith finished 1up against Phil Mickelson to help Punch GC advance past Hy Flyers GC in Friday's quarter-finals.

The format for the Team Championship has the top-four teams automatically advancing to Saturday's semi-finals, while teams five-through-12 battled it out on the opening day.

With teams of four, it meant there would be two one-on-one match play rounds, as well as a two-on-two foursomes played with alternate shot rules, with the team who wins two-out-of-three getting to advance.

For Punch GC, Smith was matched up with Mickelson, and they went onto the 18th hole tied, before Mickelson left the door open with a bogey to finish his round, allowing Smith to secure one win for his team with a par.

Smith's Australian teammate Marc Leishman enjoyed a much more dominant victory, working his way to a 4up lead through seven holes on his way to a 4 and 2 win against J.J. Wolf. Hy Flyers did salvage one point despite getting eliminated, with the duo of Bernd Wiesberger and Cameron Tringale beating Wade Ormsby and Matt Jones 3 and 2.

It was a three-to-zero clean sweep for Majesticks GC, with Ian Poulter beating Kevin Na 4 and 2, Lee Westwood defeating Sihwan Kim 4 and 3, and the team of Sam Horsfield with Henrik Stenson collecting a 4 and 2 victory over Sadom Kaewkanjana and Phachara Khongwatmai.

For Smash GC it was Chase pulling through for the Koepka clan as Brooks Koepka fell convincingly in a 4 and 3 loss to Niblicks GC's Harold Varner III.

But Smash GC will move on to the semi-finals after Chase Koepka and Jason Kokrak beat Turk Petit and Hudson Swafford 2 and 1, while Peter Uihlein hammered James Piot 5 and 3.

In the last quarter-final, Cleeks GC booked their semi-final matchup against Dustin Johnson and the top-seeded 4 Aces GC after winning two-out-of-three against Torque GC.

Joaquinn Niemann did all he could for Torque GC, cruising past Shergo Al Kurdi 5 and 3 after Al Kurdi stepped in for Cleeks GC captain Martin Kaymer, who was a late withdrawal.

But Laurie Canter kept his team in it with a narrow 1up win over Jediah Morgan, before Graeme McDowell and Richard Bland put Torque GC through to the next round with a 2up victory against Scott Vincent and Adrian Otaegui.

The eight remaining teams will compete in the same format in the semi-finals, with Cameron Smith against Fireballs GC captain Sergio Garcia shaping up as the main event.

Ian Poutler has refuted Rory McIlroy's claim that players joining the LIV Golf Invitational Series engaged in a "betrayal" of their former Ryder Cup team-mates.

Five players who featured in Europe's comprehensive defeat at last year's Ryder Cup have since joined the controversial breakaway circuit, including Poulter, Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia.

Meanwhile, Henrik Stenson was stripped of Team Europe's captaincy for next year's competition – set to take place at Marco Simone Golf Club in Rome – following his own decision to join LIV Golf.

It remains uncertain whether players from the LIV circuit will be able to feature at the 2023 Ryder Cup, and McIlroy has repeatedly insisted they should not. 

Speaking to the Guardian on Tuesday, McIlroy went a step further, saying: "I think it is the first time in my life that I have felt betrayal, in a way. It's an unfamiliar feeling to me. You build bonds with these people through Ryder Cups and other things."

Poulter responded to that statement at a press conference ahead of LIV's next event in Miami, saying: "A betrayal? I mean, we can still qualify for the team, as far as I'm aware, unless we've been told we can't qualify.

"I'm still ready to play as much as I possibly can and try and make that team.

"My commitment to the Ryder Cup, I think goes before me. I don't think that should ever come into question. 

"I've always wanted to play Ryder Cups and play with as much passion as anyone else that I've ever seen play a Ryder Cup, I don't know where those comments really come from, to be honest."

Phil Mickelson – one of the first household names to join LIV Golf – spoke alongside Poulter on Wednesday but refused to engage with McIlroy's claim the circuit's feud with the PGA Tour was "out of control". 

"I think a lot of Rory, I really have the utmost respect for him, [for] what he's done in the game and how he's played this year," Mickelson said. 

"I have a tonne of respect for him. As players, we have three months off after this event to talk about things like that and so forth."

Cameron Smith was among the early stragglers at LIV Golf Bangkok as the Open champion finished his first round seven shots adrift of the leaders.

After winning the Chicago leg of the breakaway series last month, Australian Smith would have been hoping for more at Stonehill Golf Course on Friday.

A double bogey at 16 was followed by a pair of pars as he came home in level-par 72.

Eugenio Lopez-Chacarra, Richard Bland and Branden Grace were the unlikely leading trio on seven under, with Marc Leishman and Ian Poulter tied for fourth one shot back.

Brooks Koepka was one of five players on five under, with Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau three under and Dustin Johnson two under.

Only five players shot worse scores than Smith, with Chase Koepka and Matthew Wolff bringing up the rear on two under.

The three co-leaders all had bogey-free rounds, each posting rounds of 65 after making seven birdies.

Lopez-Chacarra is a 22-year-old Spaniard who was a top amateur before embarking on his professional career in the LIV ranks. He has yet to have a top-20 finish on the tour.

Bland is a 49-year-old Englishman who in May 2021 won his first European Tour title at the 478th attempt; while Grace, with two wins on the PGA Tour and nine on the European Tour, is the renowned top performer among the pace-setting trio.

The Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) on Thursday revealed that no rankings points will be up for grabs in Bangkok this week or Jeddah next week.

Phil Mickelson has asked a federal judge to withdraw his name from the lawsuit filed by LIV Golf Invitational Series players against the PGA Tour, along with three others.

Talor Gooch, Ian Poulter and Hudson Swafford also want to be dismissed from the antitrust lawsuit, leaving just three players from the original 11 who filed against the Tour.

Mickelson, one of the most prominent defectors from to LIV Golf this year, had been expected to remove his name after the breakaway series joined the suit as a plaintiff.

Only Bryson DeChambeau, Peter Uihlein and Matt Jones now remain as individuals.

The lawsuit accuses the PGA Tour of benefiting from operating as a monopoly and alleges it improperly suspended LIV Golf players from its events.

"Nothing has changed," LIV Golf spokesman Jonathan Grella said in a statement.

"The merits of the case – the PGA Tour's anticompetitive conduct – still stand and will be fully tested in court. And we look forward to that.

"LIV stands with the players whom the PGA Tour has treated so poorly, but we also recognise that to be successful, we no longer need a wide array of players to be on the suit.

"We have our players' backs and will press our case against the PGA Tour's anticompetitive behaviour."

Rory McIlroy says his relationships with several former Ryder Cup team-mates have strained by their decisions to join the LIV Golf series.

Five members of Europe's team for the 2021 tournament, at which they were well beaten by the United States at Whistling Straits, have joined the controversial Saudi Arabia-backed circuit.

Four of those five – Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Bernd Wiesberger – are part of the field for this week's BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

The presence of LIV golfers at the DP World Tour's flagship event has been criticised by some players, with former world number one Jon Rahm and defending BMW PGA champion Billy Horschel both hitting out at their participation. 

McIlroy has been a fierce defender of the PGA Tour amid the divide with LIV Golf, and admits he has grown distant with many of his counterparts on the breakaway circuit. 

"I wouldn't say I've got much of a relationship with them at the minute," McIlroy said of his former Ryder Cup team-mates.

"But, like, I haven't done anything different. They are the ones that have made that decision. I can sit here and keep my head held high and say I haven't done anything differently."

Having declared last month that it would be "hard to stomach" LIV players joining the field at Wentworth, McIlroy was more diplomatic this time around, adding: "They are here. They are playing the golf tournament. 

"My opinion is they shouldn't be here, but again that's just my opinion.

"But we are all going to tee it up on the first tee tomorrow and we are all going to go play 72 holes, which is a novelty for them at this point, and then we'll go from there.

"If you're just talking about Ryder Cup, that's not the future of the Ryder Cup team. They've played in probably a combined 25, 30 Ryder Cups, whatever it is.

"The Hojgaards [brothers Rasmus and Nicolai], Bobby Mac [Robert MacIntyre], whoever else is coming up, they are the future of the Ryder Cup team. That's what we should be thinking about and talking about."

Meanwhile, the DP World Tour's chief executive Keith Pelley has hit out at comments from Westwood and Garcia after the two men claimed the DP World Tour is nothing more than a feeder circuit for the PGA.

Garcia, Europe's record points scorer in the Ryder Cup, recently declared the DP World Tour to be just the fifth best circuit in world golf.

"It's unbelievable," Pelley said. "Let's look at the facts. If the metric determining the top tours in the world is just money, then the number one tour is the PGA Tour, always has been. You could argue that the LIV Invitational Series is number two.

"But The Asian Tour, $22.5m; Korn Ferry Tour; $20m; Japan, $28m; Australia, $5.8m; Sunshine Tour, $7.4m. Totalling all their prize funds together comes to just half of our tour. So even if the only metric is money, how possibly could we ever become number five?

"Is this week a tournament that is on a feeder tour? A tournament that has sold-out crowds, television coverage around the world in 150 countries, five of the top 15 players in the world? A tournament with 150 accredited media?

"Our first co-sanctioned event with the PGA Tour in Scotland, where 14 of the top 15 players played, would that appear on a feeder tour? I could go on and on."

Pelley also defended his decision to remain aligned with the PGA Tour, adding: "LIV Golf and the PGA Tour are involved in a power struggle for our sport.

"It is corporate America versus a sovereign state and a conflict fought out with eye-watering sums of money. I often get the question, why can't we work with both the PGA Tour and the Saudis. We tried.

"But the Saudis remain determined to set up a new series outside of the current ecosystem. That decision has created the conflict we see today, and we chose to partner with the leading tour in the game.

"Some people might not agree with that decision. But it's a decision we feel is the right thing to do for all our members."

Former world number one Jon Rahm has hit out at the prospect of LIV Golf players featuring at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth later this week.

The field for the DP World Tour event, which begins on Thursday, includes 17 players who have made an appearance on the controversial Saudi-backed circuit. 

The likes of Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia are all among that group, as the bitter divide between the LIV series and the PGA and European Tours shows no sign of healing.

Quizzed on their presence at the event, former U.S. Open champion Rahm expressed his frustration at big-name LIV golfers taking the places of those who have stayed loyal to the European Tour, claiming they are only appearing to pick up world ranking points.

"What I don't understand is some players that have never shown any interest in the European Tour, that have never shown any interest in playing this event, are being given an opportunity, just because they can get world ranking points, and hopefully make majors next year," the Spaniard said.

Citing the case of close friend Alfredo Garcia-Heredia, who has missed out on the field, Rahm added: "It doesn't hurt me, but it does bug me that somebody who has played over – I looked it up – 20 DP World events this year cannot be given the opportunity to play a flagship event.

"Because some people that earned it, to an extent, are being given an opportunity when they couldn't care any less about the event.

"They don't know. They don't care. They don't know the history of this event.

"They are only here because they are trying to get world ranking points and trying to finish in the top 50, and that's clear as day."

But Rahm believes there could yet be a way back for those who have signed for the breakaway tour, adding: "There's only one problem in life that doesn't have a solution, and that's death. 

"Everything else has a solution. If the European Tour really want them to play and as a team we [Ryder Cup Europe] want them to play, I think a solution can be reached."

Defending BMW PGA Championship champion Billy Horschel was similarly scathing of the LIV rebels, declaring: "Even though Westwood and Poulter have been stalwarts for the European Tour, I don't think those guys really should be here."

Taking aim at those who have missed the event in the past, he added: "You've never played this tournament, you've never supported the DP World Tour.

"Why are you here? You are here for one reason only, and that's to try to get world ranking points because you don't have it [on the LIV Tour].

"It's hypocritical because some of these guys said they wanted to play less golf. It's pretty hypocritical to come over here and play outside LIV when your big thing was to spend more time with family and want to play less golf."

Paul McGinley says it "breaks my heart" to see a number of his close friends and former Ryder Cup team-mates join the controversial LIV Golf Invitational Series.

Golf has been divided over the past six months by the arrival of the Saudi-backed breakaway, which has seen a number of high-profile names defect from the PGA Tour.

Six more players were announced by LIV Golf this week, including reigning Open champion Cameron Smith, ahead of the series' latest big-money event in Boston.

The PGA Tour has banned those competing in LIV Golf from taking part in any of their competitions, though that is subject to another legal challenge.

The DP World Tour was unsuccessful in doing so, meanwhile, and 18 LIV players will compete in the PGA Championship at Wentworth next week.

That includes the likes of Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Graeme McDowell and Ian Poulter, each of whom McGinley has previously teamed up with for Ryder Cup duty.

McGinley finds the rift difficult to accept and claims that no player on the DP World Tour wants the LIV golfers involved at Wentworth.

"It breaks my heart because I have an emotional connection with every one of those players," he told The Sunday Times.

"I will see Poulter and I'll shake his hand at Wentworth, the same with Westwood and all of those guys that I shared team rooms with. That bond will never be broken.

"But we're definitely on different sides now. And it's really sad that it has come to this. Every one of those players knew the consequences when they signed with LIV. 

"They also knew there was the potential for the Ryder Cup to be collateral damage in all of this. They still think they can play in the Ryder Cup. 

"Who knows what's going to happen in six months' time? I think, at this stage, it's highly unlikely that any of them will be involved in the Ryder Cup again.

"If this is how it pans out, it won't be because of [DP World Tour chief executive] Keith Pelley or the board say so.

"It's because our members, the players who have remained loyal to our tour, don't want the LIV guys anywhere near the Ryder Cup. 

"The feeling is that you cannot play [for] both sides. Mo Salah doesn't get to play for Liverpool one week and Real Madrid the next. LIV is a rival tour."

Ian Poulter took aim at the media after his third round 70 at The Open on Saturday, saying he has been getting plenty of support from the crowd at St Andrews.

The Englishman received a frosty reception from some at the famous course when he teed off on Thursday following his defection to LIV Golf, though he said he only heard cheers.

Poulter seemed to receive more favourable crowd reactions on Saturday as he moved to five under heading into the final round in Fife.

When asked about getting a better from the huge crowds after his round, a spiky Poulter replied during a news conference: "Are we still talking about it? Did you hear one bad comment?

"It's amazing how we still talk about one person that's 100 yards down the first [hole], where there's conveniently a microphone positioned halfway down the stand and some young guy says 'boo', and it comes over on the TV. And you all assume I'm being booed on the course.

"Paul Casey [another LIV Golf competitor] walked 17 holes on day one... And the 17 holes he walked, there was not one comment. There was not one boo. If you guys continue to write that there are people and there's negative comments and there's boos, then unfortunately that's not a true reflection of exactly what happened.

"It would be really nice if people would actually write the truth, that we're getting quite a lot of support out there on the golf course because it would just be nice. It would be a fair reflection of actually what's happening, rather than this continual press of 'let's lead down the path of players being booed who have joined the LIV tour.'"

Poulter says nothing will stop him from enjoying what he says will be his last Open at such an iconic venue.

"This is my fifth Open at St Andrews. It will be my last Open at St Andrews," he told reporters. "I've got my whole family here watching. So I'm here to enjoy myself.

"The reception I've had has been remarkable, to be honest. I've enjoyed every part of it. It's been great not to read any rubbish in the press this week, which has been unusual for me to not read it.

"I've deliberately not read it, but just listening to some of the questioning is quite funny."

Cameron Tringale was delighted with his "red-hot" putting display after shooting a remarkable nine-under 61 to take the lead at the Scottish Open, matching the course record in the process. 

Tringale reached the turn at three-under after making a steady start, but the 34-year-old – whose only previous professional victory came in the Franklin Templeton shootout team event in 2014 – picked up the pace to birdie six consecutive holes through 10 to 15 and finish day one top of the leaderboard.

The American ended Thursday three shots clear of compatriot Gary Woodland and four ahead of South Africa's Justin Harding – one of four LIV Golf players to feature at the Renaissance Club in North Berwick.

In claiming a place among the early leaders, Harding fared far better than fellow LIV Golf star Ian Poulter, who made nine bogeys during a calamitous opening round to finish eight-over.

Poulter was allowed to feature pending an appeal against a DP World Tour ban but may be wishing he had not bothered after slumping to near the bottom of the leaderboard, at one point sharing last place in the expanded field.

But the story of the day was undoubtedly Tringale's career-best round. He is now targeting greater consistency after setting a terrific pace. 

"I got lucky this morning with the wind not being up, the other guys in my group were off to hot starts, making some putts and I decided to join the fun on number five," Tringale told Sky Sports. 

"Then my putter got red-hot, and that's how you do it!

"You do the best you can, I think I was just fortunate with the amount of putts I holed and I got plenty of practice shots around the green, I didn't have to use them all that much because I struck it pretty nicely.

"But I was just dialled in on the greens and that tells the story. I'm just really focused on what I can control, I've done it poorly enough to learn the lessons. 

"Hopefully I can continue to go and play, and the good outcomes will come as a by-product if I can keep my head on straight."

Rory McIlroy believes players who have joined the LIV Golf Invitational Series should not be "having their cake and eating it" by being eligible to compete on other tours.

On Monday, Ian Poulter was informed he could play at this week's Scottish Open after an appeal against his ban was upheld, despite the DP World Tour barring him from playing.

Poulter was also one of several high-profile players to have been indefinitely suspended by the PGA Tour by signing up with LIV Golf.

One of the more vocal supporters of the PGA Tour, McIlroy insisted players should have to live with the consequences of choices to earn more money if they do sign with the breakaway competition.

"I think at this stage, if you go over and play on a different tour, then go over and play on a different tour," he said.

"You're sort of basically leaving all your peers behind to go make more money, which is fine. But just go over there. Don't try and come back and play over here again.

"This whole having your cake and eating it type thing is what the resentment [stems from] within the membership."

McIlroy's comments follow Branden Grace taking out LIV Golf Portland last weekend, with Billy Horschel also saving harsh criticism in the lead up to the Scottish Open, which will be an important preparation for the Open Championship.

Fronted by former world number one Greg Norman, Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund is the majority shareholder of LIV Golf Investments, allowing for substantially larger prize money and an eased schedule.

Horschel, who won the Memorial Tournament in June, believes it is hypocritical of defectors to cite a lighter schedule and then play on multiple tours.

"They shouldn’t be coming back over here to play the DP World Tour or the PGA Tour, he said. "To say that they wanted to also support this tour or the DP or PGA Tour going forward, while playing the LIV Tour, is completely asinine in my opinion.

"To play the PGA Tour, you’ve got to play 15 events and their [LIV] schedule is eight events, [planned to be] 14. So to say they are going to play 29 events a year and still hold membership on the PGA Tour is ridiculous. They decided to go play on a tour and they should go play that tour.

"The last week’s events I’ve been really frustrated by because there are a lot of guys who are hypocrites that are not telling the truth and lying about some things."

Players on the LIV Golf roster will be allowed to compete in the DP World Tour's Scottish Open after their bans for featuring in the Saudi-backed league were temporarily stayed as their appeals are considered.

Both the PGA Tour and DP World Tour had refused to grant waivers for players to participate in LIV Golf's lucrative tournaments, with the first two events being held in London and Portland over the past month.

Ian Poulter has been leading the chorus of dissent from the European LIV Golf players, as the biggest names in the sport descended on Ireland's Adare Manor this week for the JP McManus Pro-Am.

He told the media he was going to fight any restrictions that tried to keep him away from a tour he feels he has dedicated a large chunk of his life to.

"My commitment to the European Tour has been there since day one," he said. "And it's still there today. 

"I'm proud of playing so often, when it was to the detriment of world ranking points and FedEx Cup points I could have earned playing more in America.

"I feel disappointed and offended that I've been suspended from playing golf on a Tour that I've played for 24 years."

Chief executive of the DP World Tour, Keith Pelley, said the ruling does not mean players from the Saudi-funded tour will be granted full access to the European tour, but the field for the Scottish Open will be expanded to fit the LIV Golf players.

"I will simply say we are disappointed by the outcome of today's hearing, but will abide by the decision," he said.

"It is important to remember, however, this is only a stay of the sanctions imposed, pending the hearing of the players' appeal as to whether those sanctions were appropriate.

"The make-up of the field for the Scottish Open will be advised in due course, but based on this decision the field size will increase beyond 156. 

"We will make further comment on this in due course, but not during our time at Adare Manor."

DP World Tour chief executive Keith Pelley has hit back at LIV Golf rebels and says sanctions imposed on players were "proportionate and fair".

Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter were among 16 DP World Tour members who were last week fined £100,000 and banned from playing in three events – the first being the Scottish Open next week.

They were sanctioned by the DP World Tour for playing in the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational Series event at Centurion Club without permission last month.

In an open letter, which was addressed to Pelley, published by The Telegraph, the 16 players threatened to take legal action against the DP World Tour if the fines and suspensions were not rescinded.

They also claimed that the DP World Tour is playing "second fiddle" to the PGA Tour in an extended relationship between the two.

Pelley provided a strong response as he refused to back down on Friday.

He said in a statement: "There has been a leak to the media of a letter we received on behalf of a number of LIV Golf players which contains so many inaccuracies that it cannot remain unchallenged.

"Before joining LIV Golf, players knew there would be consequences if they chose money over competition. Many of them at the time understood and accepted that. Indeed, as one player named in the letter said in a media interview earlier this year; 'If they ban me, they ban me.' It is not credible that some are now surprised with the actions we have taken.

"The letter claims that these players 'care deeply' for the DP World Tour. An analysis of the past participation statistics on our Tour in recent years of several of the leading players named suggests otherwise

"One player in particular named in the note has only played six Rolex Series events in the past five years. Another one, only four. I wish many of them had been as keen to play on our Tour then as they seem to be now, based on the fact they have either resigned their membership of the PGA Tour or, if they are still in membership, have been suspended indefinitely.

"Furthermore, given how deeply these players say they care about the DP World Tour, perhaps some of them could have played in Ireland this week in support of our new title sponsor, in particular one player who gave us a signed commitment to play at Mount Juliet.

"With that player currently in action at Pumpkin Ridge, you can imagine the allegation in the letter that we are in the wrong, is hard to accept.

"We also take great exception to an allegation made near the end of the letter which states we are somehow playing 'second fiddle' to the PGA Tour. Nothing could be further from the truth.

"We held a player meeting in Ireland on Tuesday where we outlined in great detail all the many benefits of our expanded relationship with the PGA Tour.

"One of those is an unprecedented ten cards on offer to the PGA Tour, cards that many of the players named in this letter desperately wanted to attain in the early stages of their careers. Why now be critical of those trying to do the same?

"The letter also expresses supposed concern about the future of the DP World Tour. Rest assured no-one should have any worries on that score.

"The DP World Tour is a vibrant, independent and global Tour with increasing and guaranteed prize fund growth over the next five years. We have fantastic tournaments across the year including a host of wonderful national Opens, all played in front of huge crowds, illustrated perfectly by this week's Irish Open.

"Finally, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on any potential legal matters.

"I will simply reiterate that our Members' Regulations which have been in force for more than 30 years, have been accepted by all the players, are there to protect all of our members, and we will use them to take all necessary steps to protect their interests.

"The sanctions for those members who knowingly broke our rules by playing at the Centurion Club without a release are proportionate, fair and, I believe, considered necessary by the majority of our members."

Mexico's Carlos Ortiz is the outright leader after the first round at LIV Golf Portland, finishing five under after his first trip around Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club.

He was on track for a bigger lead than the one stroke buffer he holds, with three birdies from his first four holes after beginning his shotgun start on the ninth tee, before back-to-back bogeys brought him back to the field.

Ortiz finished his round with three birdies on his final five holes, re-taking the lead in the final stages of play.

Dustin Johnson is just one stroke back in outright second place at four under, bogeying his first hole of the day as he started on the 18th, but it would be his only blemish, collecting five birdies and 12 pars the rest of the way.

Rounding out the top-five is Pat Perez, Hideto Tanihara, Wade Ormsby and Branden Grace in a tie for third at three under.

Playing in his first LIV Golf event, Brooks Koepka put in a good showing as one of 13 players to finish under par, tied for seventh along with Hennie du Plessis after their two-under 70s.

Louis Oosthuizen, Martin Kaymer, Scott Vincent and Yuki Inamori are tied for ninth at one under, while big names Patrick Reed and Bryson DeChambeau headline the group at even par.

Koepka's brother Chase Koepka is at one over along with Mexico's Abraham Ancer, winner of LIV Golf's debut event Charl Schwartzel is at two over with Ian Poulter, and Phil Mickelson finished at three over with Sergio Garcia and Kevin Na.

Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell have hit out at the PGA Tour for their handling of players who have decided to participate in LIV Golf, calling it a "power struggle".

The PGA Tour made the bold move of waiting until after the first LIV Golf event in London had teed off before announcing that any player who participates in the Saudi-backed promotion is "suspended or otherwise no longer eligible to participate in PGA Tour tournament play, including the President's Cup."

In the first round of LIV Golf's debut event, Charl Schwartzel earned the outright lead at five under, trailed by Hennie Du Plessis at four under, while Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson were also among the 10 players to finish under par.

Speaking after the round, Poulter strongly disagreed with the PGA Tour's decision to force players to choose between the tours.

"I've played a lot of tournaments all around the world, this event is no different," he said. "It's a shame if they view this as something different.

"I will appeal for sure. It makes no sense. Having two tour cards and the ability to play golf all over the world, what's wrong with that? I believe I've been given permission in the past to play in events around the world.

"I don't know why [the decision was made] – we can all make assumptions as to why. Competition is probably the real reason. It's a power struggle, and it's just disappointing."

Fellow U.K. golfer McDowell echoed Poulter's sentiments, saying it is ridiculous that they are not allowed to compete in events relatively local to them.

"Some guys believe that they shouldn't be in the situation where they have to resign," he said. "They don't feel like they are doing anything wrong. 

"We haven't been issued releases, [but] we feel like we should have been issued releases. We've done it for the last 20 years, operated all over the world.

"We're in the U.K – you've players like myself and Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood, we are in our home markets here.

"We should be allowed to operate here as professional golfers. But hey, we all know the situation is about something bigger.

"It's competition and it's not liked. They are having to play the game the way they feel they have to play it, which is playing hard ball.

"We feel confident that we are well-protected and we are going to just try and do our best."

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